Articles | Volume 53, issue 1
10 Oct 2010
 | 10 Oct 2010

Estimation of genetic and phenotypic parameters of growth curve and their relationship with early growth and productivity in Horro sheep

S. Abegaz, J. B. Van Wyk, and J. J. Olivier

Abstract. Weight (kg)-age (days) data of 524 Horro sheep of Ethiopia were fitted to a Brody function to estimate parameters of growth curve and their genetic and phenotypic parameters. Genetic and phenotypic relationships were also estimated between growth curve parameters and weight at birth (BW), weaning (WW) six-month (WT6) and yearling (YW). For ewes Pearson correlations were also calculated between growth curve parameters and ewe productivity over first to fourth parities. Least squares means of growth curve parameters A (asymptotic mature weight, kg), B (proportion of mature weight attained after birth) and K (the rate of maturity, kg gain kg-1 body weight) were 37.6, 0.88, and 0.27∙10-2, respectively. Heritability estimates were 0.29, 0.18 and 0.14 for A, B, and K, respectively. Genetic correlations between A and B, A and K, and B and K were 0.39, −0.07, and 0.25 respectively. Genetic correlations of A and K with BW, WW, WT6, and YW were 0.27 and −0.13, 0.34 and 0.37, 0.44 and 0.61, and 0.67 and 0.66, respectively. The growth curve parameters have small but positive (r=0.05 to 0.28) relationship with indicators of lifetime productivity. Medium heritability estimates of A and K indicate that progress in improving these traits can be made through selection. WT6 and YW have medium genetic correlations with the growth curve parameters and these may allow the use of these weights as indirect early selection criteria for optimum growth curve.